Unbiased Implicit Variational Inference

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Michalis K. Titsias, Francisco Ruiz ;
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, PMLR 89:167-176, 2019.

Abstract

We develop unbiased implicit variational inference (UIVI), a method that expands the applicability of variational inference by defining an expressive variational family. UIVI considers an implicit variational distribution obtained in a hierarchical manner using a simple reparameterizable distribution whose variational parameters are defined by arbitrarily flexible deep neural networks. Unlike previous works, UIVI directly optimizes the evidence lower bound (ELBO) rather than an approximation to the ELBO. We demonstrate UIVI on several models, including Bayesian multinomial logistic regression and variational autoencoders, and show that UIVI achieves both tighter ELBO and better predictive performance than existing approaches at a similar computational cost.

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